Friday, January 18, 2013

Couchsurfing in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

My official training in Delhi has ended. I didn't stay long at the hostel to see my training mates go back to their own countries one by one. It was depressing to know that I'll be left alone.

All alone. In INDIA! *gasps

This only means that my survival instincts were heightened and I had to be more careful. All I knew was that the road ahead was uncertain and most probably dangerous. I was a woman traveling alone in a country where rape cases were a norm. That pretty much spooked me up a bit.

So I started my journey with Bismillah and took off by train to Jaipur.

My CouchSurfing Host : Hussey

FYI, couchsurfing is a volunteer-based worldwide network connecting travelers with members of local communities, who offer free accommodation and/or advice. My first couchsurfing experience was in Yogyakarta. =)

Prior to my flight to India, I've sent requests to two potential hosts in the CouchSurfing website. One in Agra and another one in Jodhpur as I was planning to head there right after my training. I had to cancel Agra because I went there with my training organizers and the host in Jodhpur never replied. Sobbbb..

Then suddenly out of the blue, a host from Jaipur requested to host me. (Well, there were a dozen other requests that Indian hosts sent me but this one particularly caught my interest the most). As I read his couchsurfing profile and his rave positive reviews from his previous guests, I decided to give it a try. And off I went to Jaipur to stay with him and his family.

My host's name is Hussey. =)

We promised to meet up at Jaipur's railway station and then hop on a bus to his home. I was met with this view from the rooftop of his humble home at Amer. Amer is located at the outskirts of Jaipur and very near to the majestic Amber Fort. I was given a room by myself and was lent a blanket and a towel. That was more than I can ask for. And for that I was grateful and delighted!

The building on the left is the community's mosque. Only motorbikes, elephants and people passed through these dirt passageways. =)
I felt very welcomed at Hussey's home and also at his neighbor's home. Sometimes his neighbors would come-by to kidnap me and we'd attend a religious session with their head of the family. It is held every night after Isha'. I remembered being asked to read out load some verses from the holy Quran to a room of strangers. Haha. My readings were then corrected and rehearsed once again until it sounded right. Adehhh.. it was a bit embarrassing though. But experiencing it, I know now how it feels to be in a Muslim family outside my country. I felt enlightened.

The friendly  neighbors (above picture) and Hussey's family (below picture)
And voilla... another picture from the rooftop of Hussey's home. I just like taking picture from there. Hehehe. This time it faces the opposite side where we could see a big wall of China-like structure which in fact is Amber fort! Monkeys too!

Great Wall of China.. in Jaipur. Hehehe
I liked that sometimes for dinner, Hussey's mom and sisters would cook roti (looks like capati) using the traditional way as shown below. But most times they'd just use the gas stove in the kitchen.
Burn some wood and let's start cooking!
I actually overstayed my visit. From the planned two nights... I stayed three nights thus cancelling my plans to Jodhpur. Haha! Maybe because I was scared to go on alone. Or maybe because I just wanted to spend more time with these lovely people where I felt safe and welcomed. ^__^

The many faces I met during my stay in Amer. 
And another thing, having a ride to almost all the places of interest around Jaipur also tempted me to stay a wee bit longer than expected. hehe.

I hereby introduce you my new brother of Jaipur, Hussey and his motorbike!

Taken during our way up to Tiger Fort. 
The list of places I visited throughout my stay in Jaipur is saved for another blogpost. Till then.... good bye!


AJ said... [Reply]

Couchsurfing macam homestay host ka?

Happy walker said... [Reply]

good sharing~

Jard The Great said... [Reply]

@AJ.. homestay host maksudnya apa? LOL.. couchsurfing neh.. bergantung pada host.. mungkin dia ada rumah flat je.. atau khemah.. just accept la. Dah namanya menumpang free. hehehe.

@mr. Lonely.. thanks you. Hope it benefits you =)

Henry Lee said... [Reply]

oh u're in couch surfing too ey... wanted to start exploring it but seems like I don't even have the budget to fly :(

Jard The Great said... [Reply]

@henry... I've been a member just last year. haha. Oh mooo.. why no budget? I think AirAsia is giving out pretty good prices on their airfare tix. Should try it. never lose hope. hehe =)

TheJessicat said... [Reply]

Glad u had fun dearie!!

Jard The Great said... [Reply]

#TheJessicaCat... the experience made me have faith in couchsurfing more. hehehe.

emilayusof said... [Reply]

Seronoknya! I wanted to try couchsurfing in Frankfurt, siap dah ada host but then I cancelled. The man said he stayed with his wife but I didn't see his wife picture dekat profile dia so, I took a rain check. Lucky got paid jobs and happily pi duduk hotel. Haha.

ilyani said... [Reply]

wow, so meriah! :D this is what i call real couchsurfing, with bunch of family members in typical neighborhood! :)
we CSed in Delhi and Agra too,and in fact our Delhi host arranged us to stay in his brother's houseboat in Kashmir,that's an unexpected pure luck! :)

hlga said... [Reply]

wahahahaha seru sekali kak
keluarga besarnya ramah sekali

jadi pengin couch surfing lagi

Faisal Admar said... [Reply]

Wow! Menarik ni :) Thanks for the info.